For Immediate Release
Maggie Thompson, KDHE, 785-296-5795
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced today that two cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Kansas involving two adults residing in the same household in Dickinson County. Neither of the patients was hospitalized - one is still ill and being treated, and one is recovering.
One of the patients had recently traveled to Mexico, flying in and out of Wichita. Both persons work in Saline County and became ill with the same unique (H1N1) strain of swine flu that has been identified in Mexico, California and Texas.
"It's not yet known whether this will become the next flu pandemic," stated Dr. Jason Eberhart- Phillips, State Health Officer and Director of the KDHE Division of Health. "We are working closely with health agencies at all levels and are continuing to monitor these cases. We are taking this situation very seriously."
KDHE and the Dickinson County Health Department are investigating the sources of exposure, and efforts are being coordinated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals who have been in contact with the patients are being interviewed and tested. Local health departments and hospitals in Kansas are being continuously updated and provided with information about the swine flu virus.
In accordance with the Kansas Response Plan, KDHE is also monitoring and instituting recommendations from CDC for any additional influenza disease surveillance activities, reviewing plans to further enhance those activities, and advising health care providers to use rapid detection tests for persons who have symptoms consistent with swine flu, especially if they have recently been in Mexico, and taking other steps under the plan.
The symptoms of swine flu in humans are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include:
Individuals who experience the above symptoms should contact their physician, who will determine whether testing or treatment is needed. There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. As with any influenza virus, individuals are encouraged to take the following steps to reduce spread:
The KDHE Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology received a report of unusual flu-like illness from Dickinson County on Friday afternoon. Respiratory specimens were collected from both patients and received by KDHE later on Friday evening.
At about 2 a.m. Saturday, the Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories at KDHE reported preliminary results that were positive for influenza A viruses. Between about 2:30 and 3 a.m., KDHE notified the Dickinson County Health Department of those preliminary results, which notified the attending physician.
Around that same time, KDHE obtained the use of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' plane to safely and securely transport the samples as rapidly as possible to the CDC labs in Atlanta for confirmatory analysis to determine if the viruses were of the (H1N1) strain. A staff member with the KDHE Center for Public Health Preparedness handed the samples to a CDC representative at about 6:10 a.m. on Saturday, and the samples reached the labs at about 6:30 a.m. KDHE convened staff in its Department Operations Center at 10 a.m. Saturday, and was notified by CDC of the confirmatory results at 2:30 p.m.
Prior to the recent outbreak in Mexico and the U.S., since 2005 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza had been reported to CDC. Swine flu infections in humans are rare, but are related to close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig production barns and livestock exhibits at fairs. Neither of the current patients in Kansas reported having contact with pigs.
For more information and updates, please visit the KDHE website at www.kdheks.gov.